LA-based, Detroit-born singer/songwriter Eric Hirshberg releases his new single “It’s Hard To Be A Human Being” today inspired by a conversation between the artist and his longtime friend, mentor and inspiration, the late Norman Lear. The simple, inarguable wisdom captured in the title is in and of itself an idea that frees one from the illusion (or delusion) that life is supposed to be easy.
Of the track Hirshberg adds, “It was not unusual for Norman Lear to drop ‘wisdom bombs’ in casual conversation. But ‘it’s hard to be a human being’ has really stuck with me. I find this thought to be incredibly freeing. Because you stop focusing on how to make life easy, and instead you start focusing on how to do the hard things right.”
Previously the two delivered a TedTalk on how humility and humor have the power to shape lives and creative vision.
And earlier this year the creative polymath released the raucous sing-along “I Love Not Drinking” featuring the Grammy-nominated artist Aloe Blacc just in time for Dry January. "I Love Not Drinking" was praised everywhere from KCRW to People Magazine and celebrates the joys of life without alcohol — and how rather than disparage the act, it is instead a declaration of non-dependence.
Second Hand Smoke is an album about removing the toxicity from one’s life through an optimistic lens. From embracing sobriety, to ending toxic relationships, to the search for spirituality in a secular world, and maintaining optimism and hope as we age, the songwriting confronts its themes with a positive and productive lyricsal outlook. “I am someone who needed to live a lot of life before I had something to sing,“ says Hirshberg.
Elsewhere on Second Hand Smoke there’s profound inward reflection. “Half Way Home,” for example, is a mid-life dialogue between the singer and the younger and older versions of himself. There’s “It’s Hard To Be A Human Being,” which was inspired by a conversation between the artist and his longtime friend, mentor and inspiration, Norman Lear. The simple, inarguable wisdom captured in the title is in and of itself an idea that frees us from the illusion (or delusion) that life is supposed to be easy. There’s the ode to the universal human need to believe in something bigger than ourselves, “Everyone Believes.” And “Day One” explores both the death and rebirth we experience when we finally let go of those relationships that aren’t serving us. Hirshberg has found his voice through the lessons of his life.
Hirshberg, who has been writing songs non-stop since the age of 14, took an unusual path to music. He spent his college days and most of his 20s playing Los Angeles clubs with his band and trying to build a music career. And while he wasn't looking, a whole other career took over; Hirshberg had a remarkably successful run as a creative executive first in advertising, where he built and ran the agency, Deutsch LA, then in video games, ultimately becoming the CEO of Activision (Call of Duty, Skylanders, Destiny, Guitar Hero), a post he held for almost a decade delivering record breaking results. (He is one of the only people ever to become a CEO of a company of that scale to have an art degree.) As he became more public as an executive, he became more private as an artist, until his musical life was almost completely hidden from public view, but his passion and output as a songwriter never diminished. This created what Hirshberg has called “a deathbed regret in the making.” Now, at a later lifestage than is usually associated with new artists, Hirshberg is putting his music front and center, with this, the fourth single from his second full length album.